Belated hooray for the High Court

About time that we had more accountability and transparency about our treatment of asylum seekers who are processed offshore; successive governments have been keeping them conveniently out of voters’ sight for far too long now, which allows all sorts of wild claims to be made about these mythical beings.

Of course, some voters prefer it that way, but I don’t think much of those voters’ worldview on good citizenship. After all, once the government has legal precedent for conveniently declaring some areas of our territory to have different avenues of legal recourse to ordinary Australian law, and then segregate certain groups of people to those places, what’s to stop them from doing the same thing again with other groups? Paging Pastor Niemöller to the cluephone, please.

This decision is unlikely to affect the Gillard government’s plans to work together for a regional processing centre run by the UNHCR outside Australia – if we’re not running it, asylum seekers will have no recourse to our courts. It does rather put a spanner in the works for the Abbott Opposition’s plans to reinvigorate Howard’s Pacific Solution though.

The detention centres on Australian soil won’t see any changes as a direct result of this ruling, although this demonstration of the mood of the Court regarding the rights of asylum seekers to transparent and timely judicial review as a matter of natural justice might ring a few alarm bells about the potential of future decisions to crack down on current procedural practices, which might just result in a few improvements there as well. A blogger can dream, right?

Categories: ethics & philosophy, law & order, social justice


2 replies

  1. It bothers me that the ABC headline for this is Immigration facing ’chaos’ after High Court decision. I realise that this is a quote from Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison (in the headline, ABC?), but it looks like that’s the standard angle for the news outlets and politicians to take on this now.
    Now that everyone knows where they stand a little bit better, it actually makes things less chaotic for everyone — policy makers know what they can and can’t do, the navy know what responsiblities they have and what laws they’re accountable under, and asylum seekers (can) know what their rights are (broadly speaking).
    Making up policy weeks out from an election to appease voters who will inevitably ignore you anyway… that’s chaotic.

  2. Thanks for sharing this tigtog – it’s often hard to disseminate and access information on the asylum process and this has allowed me to be a little more informed!

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